Brief History of Memorial Day

⭐ Memorial Day originated after the American Civil War as Decoration Day, a day designated to honor fallen soldiers by decorating their graves with flowers and flags.

⭐ The first official observance of Decoration Day took place on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery.

⭐ It is believed that the last Monday of May was chosen because it was a time when flowers would be in bloom all across the country.

⭐ In 1967, the name was officially changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, and a federal law established it as a national holiday to honor all those who died serving in the military.

⭐ In 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved Memorial Day's observance from May 30th to the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend.

Evolution of Memorial Day

⭐ Over time, Memorial Day has expanded to honor not only those who died in the Civil War but also those who served and died in all of the major conflicts, such as World War I, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and Gulf War.

⭐ Memorial Day was initially observed on May 30 annually, but after the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1971, it is now held on the last Monday in May each year.

⭐ In 2000, an act of Congress established the National Moment of Remembrance, observed at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day, encouraging Americans to pause for a moment of silence to honor fallen service members.

Memorial Day Celebrations and Commemorations in Different Cultures

⭐ In the United States, people of diverse cultural backgrounds pay their respects by visiting cemeteries and memorials, placing flags or flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, and participating in Memorial Day parades.

⭐ In other countries, similar commemorations take place on different dates, or specific to their own fallen heroes, such as Veterans Day in the United States, Remembrance Day in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, and similar days like Russia's Victory Day and France's Armistice Day.

Significant Events and Current Traditions

⭐ Floats and vehicles decorated with flags and flowers are often featured in Memorial Day parades, with veterans and active military personnel participating.

⭐ The President of the United States usually lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

⭐ Many people also use the long weekend as an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, often hosting barbecues and cookouts.

⭐ Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer in the United States, with many swimming pools and outdoor recreational facilities opening for the season.

Interesting Facts and Trivia

⭐ Many products sell well during the Memorial Day holiday as many people take advantage of retailers offering discounts and sales.

⭐ The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that millions of Americans travel during the Memorial Day weekend, causing traffic congestion and increased travel time on roads and highways.

⭐ The Indianapolis 500, an annual auto race held in the United States, traditionally takes place on Memorial Day weekend.

⭐ According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans consume approximately 818 hot dogs every second from Memorial Day to Labor Day, totaling around 7 billion hot dogs during the season.

⭐ In 2021, the National Memorial Day Concert broadcasted virtually due to the Corona Virus Covid 19 health crisis. It featured performances by celebrity artists and a special tribute to essential workers who have been on the front lines of the pandemic - our newest heroes.

⭐ Memorial Day is still observed as a solemn reflection on the sacrifices made by our military servicemen and women for the freedom of all Americans.

Memorial Day serves as a reminder to take time and recognize those who have given their lives in service of our country.

It is a day of remembrance and gratitude that we should all take the time to recognize, whether through parades, memorial ceremonies or simply by spending the day with family and friends.

Let us all join together in this celebration of freedom and honor those who paid the ultimate price.

Thank you for taking a moment to remember our fallen heroes.

From PBS NewsHour

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